AND HER PUSSY SMELLED OF CHERRY BLOSSOMS

The rain changed to sleet in the forty minutes it took Wilkerson to get there. The address was nothing special, a four-story walk-up. Except tonight there was a dead body. A small crowd of the curious, hunched against the weather, stood along the police line. Wilkerson identified himself and was let through. Waiting on the steps was his partner, Phillip Stanley.

Stanley was sixty-two, three years away from retirement. He was a good friend and a valuable teacher. Stanley led him inside and up the stairs.

“Who is he?” Wilkerson asked.

“Xander LaCroix. He worked down in the department’s property room,” Stanley said. He paused on the second-floor landing. “Neighbors heard the screams and called it in.”

Wilkerson had to show his badge again on the third floor. Apartment A was a beehive of activity. The body was in the bedroom, under a blanket. He walked over and gently slid the blanket down.

LaCroix’s face was a mask of fear. His eyes her closed, neck muscles tensed like corded rope. His mouth was locked open, still trying to let out a scream. His belly and legs were covered in blood and beneath, the mattress was soaked with it. The cause of death was easy to see. Where LaCroix’s cock and balls had been, there was a jagged hole.

“If this keeps up,” Stanley said, “I’m retiring early.”

Wilkerson’s partner stood in the bedroom door. Beside Stanley was the coroner, Davenport. Wilkerson, putting the blanket back, knew what his partner meant. It was infuriating. They had almost nothing to go on and LaCroix’s death was the seventh one in the last two weeks. Four of them had been police officers. All the men were found nude with the same horrible wounds. Now even the mayor’s office was developing an interest in the case. The heat was on to break it immediately. As in yesterday.

“You done, Detective?” Davenport asked. Wilkerson nodded. The coroner and his assistant, Hite, brought in a stretcher.

Davenport flipped the blanket off the corpse as Hite prepared the body bag. They pulled the body to the edge of the bed and, in the process, knocked off the pillow. It hit the floor with a heavy thud.

Wilkerson knelt down and reached inside the pillowcase where he found a small book. It was leather bound, eight inches square and almost an inch thick. It was very old. Everyone gathered around to look at it.

The book was full of drawings of couples screwing in various positions. Wilkerson slowly flipped through the book, stopping at a page where a gorgeous Asian woman was on her knees, bent forward. Her lover, also Asian, was kneeling behind her. She supported herself with one arm while sliding her man’s cock into her pussy with the other.

Wilkerson noticed the woman was the same throughout the book, though the men were different. He found it to be a tremendous turn-on and almost felt he was in a trance as he flipped through the book.

“Let me see that,” Stanley said, reaching for it.

Wilkerson recoiled and slapped Stanley’s hand aside, his horny trance rapidly replaced with anger. How dare he, Wilkerson thought. It’s mine! But the look on his partner’s face shocked him back to reality. “Sorry,” Wilkerson said, handing over the book. “I don’t know what came over me.”

“Forget about it.” Stanley shrugged. He waved Davenport and Hite back to work. “This damned case has everyone edgy.”

Wilkerson nodded his agreement, still shaken. Stanley opened the book, looking closely at the drawing. Something about the book made Wilkerson uneasy, but he couldn’t figure out what it was.

“Oh, I know what this is,” Stanley said. “During the Korean War I was stationed in Japan for a while,” Stanley explained. “There was this brothel that we went to from time to time. One of the girls had a book like this – illustrating different positions. She called it a pillow book.”

“So, LaCroix had some Asian sex manual. Is that something worth killing him over?”
“That book was very old and valuable,” Stanley said. “I’m thinking this one might be too.” Stanley suddenly yawned loudly.

“Why don’t you go on home,” Wilkerson suggested. Davenport and Hite were wheeling LaCroix’s body out of the room. He looked at his watch. It was almost two-thirty in the morning. “I can finish up here.”

“I’ll call around tomorrow and see what I can learn about this book. See you at the station?” Stanley said as he put the book into his pocket. “I should be in around three.”

Wilkerson nodded his agreement. Stanley followed Davenport and Hite out. Wilkerson stood there for a few minutes, just thinking.
*~*~*

At first, Stanley didn’t know where he was. Then he heard the crackling of the fire and knew he was in the basement family room of his home. He had been thinking and planning when sleep had overtaken him. The pillow book lay next to him.

Stanley rubbed the sleep from his eyes and went to the fireplace.

The fire was dying – down to embers. Stirring the coals in the hearth with a poker, he added more wood.

He loved the family room and was very proud of it. Since his children had finished school and moved away, he had spent much of his free time fixing it up. He’d build the fireplace, covered one wall with mirrored tiles to open the space up and show off the beautiful old-fashioned pool table. He had covered the rest of the walls with a beautiful, dark, knotty pine A sofa and small bar completed the decor.

Stanley went to the bar and poured himself a strong drink in a tall glass with ice. His wife was out of town with their daughter and he had the house to himself. He noticed it was already after four-thirty in the morning.

“Better get some sleep while there’s still time,” Stanley said to himself. He was going to need all the help he could get, and he sure didn’t need to deal with his dragging ass the next day.

He sat down in the easy chair by the fire and started paging slowly through the book again. The fire burned brightly now and cast red hues across the pages. Perhaps it was a trick of the light, but the figures in the book seemed to be moving.

In one drawing, a woman was being taken by her lover from behind. She was bent forward and her hair hung down like a black curtain in front of her face and swayed with every thrust. In another picture, the couple fucked in the missionary position.

Stanley found something strangely compelling about the Asian woman in the erotic drawings. His cock was getting hard. One drawing in particular caught his eye. In it, the woman was kneeling and sucking on her lover’s cock. Her kimono had slipped from her shoulders and her breasts were bare.

His head felt light and his throat dry. He raised his glass for a drink but it was empty. He heard the movement of fabric and looked up. The woman from the book was standing before him and the air was filled with the scent of cherry blossoms.

I must still be asleep, he thought. He stood up and the glass fell to the floor.

She stepped closer to him and kept him from speaking by kissing him. Pressing her body against him, she ran one slender hand his gray hair. With the other, she guided his hand inside her kimono to caress her succulent breast. Stanley moaned as her nipple hardened under his palm.

She pulled back slightly and slid sensually down his body. Kneeling at his feet, she quickly unfastened his pants. Stanley stood frozen, unable to believe what was happening and aware of how loudly his heart was beating in his chest. Pulling his cock free from his pants, her kimono fell from her shoulders, baring her breasts like in the drawing. Her tongue, small and pink, slid out to wet her lips. Then, holding him with one hand, she moved even closer.

*~*~*
Wilkerson had gone back to the station instead of going home to sleep. Armed with coffee and doughnuts, he’d spent the morning going back over the case file.

Now the doughnuts were gone and his paper cup was soggy from many refills. He picked up his notes and the file and went to see Lieutenant Jones, the head of Homicide.

“I think I’ve got something,” Wilkerson told him.

Lieutenant Jones motioned him to sit down. Wilkerson told him about finding the pillow book and then showed Lieutenant Jones his notes.

“Carter was the first victim. He ran a small pawn shop downtown,” Wilkerson said. “His partner, Jennifer, confirmed that they recently received a box of goods remaining from an estate sale after a wealthy Asian couple passed away. Carter was working late unpacking that box the night he died.

“Jaletti and Houston were the first cops on the scene. Whoever killed Carter must have been scared off before finding the book.”

“Jaletti was the second victim,” Lieutenant Jones said. “Houston, the third.”

“The killer must have thought they had the book,” Wilkerson said, nodding. “I think he was right. They must have picked it up at Carter’s, although I don’t know why.”

“What about Manny and LaCroix? How do they fit in?”

“Manny, the fourth victim, was the coroner’s assistant on Houston. He must have found the book, just like Davenport did last night,” Wilkerson replied. He yawned. Thirty-six hours without sleep was getting to him. “All the bodies were found at home. Except Manny. He was found in the park. He had a bag full of books with him,”

“And LaCroix worked in property, where he had access to Manny’s personal effects,” Lieutenant Jones said. “If what you say is true, we’ve got dirty cops. Where is that book now?”

“Damn, I’ve been sitting here all this time!” Wilkerson grabbed the phone and dialed. “Stanley’s got it. The killer could go after him next!”

Wilkerson listened to the phone ring. And ring. And ring. He cursed at himself for not thinking about this sooner. After far too many rings, he thrust the phone into Lieutenant Jones’s hand and ran for the door.

“I’m heading over to Stanley’s,” he yelled. “Get me some backup!”

Dispatch told Wilkerson that his backup would be delayed because of a car accident. Fuck them, he thought.

His car screeched to a halt in front of Stanley’s house. Wilkerson jumped out and ran for the door, letting himself in with his extra key. He knew the first place to check. He drew his gun and crept softly down the basement stairs.

The large fire painted the still body on the floor shades of red. He rushed to his partner’s side to check him. Stanley was face down and his pants were around his ankles. Wilkerson carefully turned him over. Stanley’s eyes were closed and his breathing was shallow. He was clutching his chest with one hand. Wilkerson noted with relief that Stanley still had intact genitals.

Laying next to Stanley was the open pillow book. Wilkerson reached for it, but stopped before touching it. Suddenly, as if moved by an invisible hand, the pages began to turn. Wilkerson watched, hypnotized by shock, as one position after another was quickly revealed to him.

He heard the swish of fabric and looked up. The Asian woman from the drawings was standing beside the pool table. She smiled and beckoned him with a wave of her small, supple hand. He was completely entranced by her beauty. His gun slipped from his hand unnoticed. He slipped his coat off and walked toward her – and the smell of cherry blossoms filled the air.

He wiped his brow with one hand and unzipped his pants with the other. They slid to his ankles, impeding his steps.

He grabbed the Asian woman by the hair, tilted her head back and kissed her roughly. Her lips were soft and moist. The smell of cherry blossoms grew stronger. Wilkerson reached down and ripped the kimono from her.

He broke the kiss and bent her naked body forward over the edge of the pool table. His cock was hard, erect, and throbbing. She reached back and guided him to her pussy and he grasped her firmly at the hips and drove into her with one mighty thrust.

He looked up at himself in the mirrored wall. His eyes were wild and his skin was lightly coated with sweat.

Then he looked at the woman.

Her reflection in the mirror was a nightmare. Waxy skin was covered with sores. She had the body of an old woman and on her shoulders, the head of a fox. Wilkerson took note of his hand caressing a saggy, cracked breast. His erection dissolved as bile rose in his throat.

The illusion of her beauty was broken and Wilkerson staggered backward. He tripped and fell, tangled in the pants around his ankles. His pistol was beside the pillow book and Wilkerson crawled desperately toward in on hands and knees.

He had just grabbed the gun when a heavy weight crashed onto his back. Wilkerson was knocked to the floor and the pistol flew out of his hand. She dug sharp nails into his shoulders. Then he saw the book – the horrible book that had started all this. It was within his reach and he grabbed for it desperately – then with helpless anger, he tossed it.

He tensed, sure the end was coming, but death did not take him. Instead, he heard terrible, painful shrieks and screams. He rolled over.

A strange, green fire was burning the creature’s legs. It beat at the flames desperately, then fell and tried to crawl to the fireplace.

That’s when he saw the pillow book. It had landed on the hearth and half of it was on fire. Realizing that the book was the key, he jumped up, ran past the burning creature, and kicked the book all the way into the fireplace.

The monster shrieked as green fire shot upwards from its legs and engulfed its entire body. Blisters formed and popped open, skin blackened and peeled back.

Wilkerson’s legs collapsed under him and he slid to the hearth. The coals were hot on his bare ass. The monster was coming closer and he knew it would kill him, but he didn’t have the strength to do anything but accept his fate.

*~*~*

“Stanley is going to be all right,” Lieutenant Jones said. “The paramedics said it was a heart attack. It’s just a good thing you got here when you did.”

Wilkerson nodded. He’d gotten dressed before Lieutenant Jones and the backup arrived and dressed Stanley too.

“I’m heading to the hospital. Are tou coming?” Lieutenant Jones asked.

“Yeah, I’ll be along soon,” Wilkerson told him, staring into the fire. “Go ahead on.”

The room was clean and neat and there was no evidence that anything bad had taken place. Wilkerson couldn’t help but wonder if it had really happened, or if his overstressed and sleep deprived mind had simply made it all up.

He took the poker and stirred the coals, adding more wood. Then he saw something on the hearth. It was the book, burned and blackened, but very much there. He reached down and picked it up. Holding it to his nose, he smelled cherry blossoms.

He set it on top of the fresh wood in the fire. Then he headed to the hospital to check on his partner.

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